More child starting reception type questions (sorry)

(105 Posts)
Xihha Sat 03-Aug-13 18:58:17

DD starts school in September and I think I'm more nervous than she is (DS starting school was different as he was more independent and I knew the school really well).

Anyway 1) DD's school insists on either Clarks or Startrite shoes, is there much difference in quality? (I've always gone to cheap shoe shops, even when i was little so have no idea)

2) DD needs a pencil case, have I got to name everything inside it and if so how the hell do you label pencils? or can i just label the pencil case and accept she may lose a few pencils?

3) We've been practicing opening lunch boxes, sitting nicely to eat, putting her own shoes on, getting changed by herself and managing tights so she can go to the loo by herself, is there anything else she needs to practice?

4) when I was at school all girls wore vests under their uniforms on days we had PE, I don't think it was ever a rule but very much expected, is this still the case?

5) why do I still feel like I've forgotten something?

I'd say burgundy might be fractionally more red and maroon fractionally more purple but not a great deal in it!

I wonder what the school would do if you arrived in another brand and said "But the Clarks and Startrite didn't fit"?

For example, neither Clarks nor Startrite stocks the size DS1 started school in (13D, very narrow). And all the shoes look absolutely indistinguishable from every other brand on the high street.

ChippingInHopHopHop Mon 05-Aug-13 02:54:53

As long as they are plain school shoes (check out Clarkes & Startrite first to get a good idea) then I'd tell them to whistle over the brand, private school or not. I'd get the best fit, at the best price.

It sounds like DS is at a lovely school - personally, I'd be sending DD there & asking FIL to save his money for her Uni fees grin

Xihha Mon 05-Aug-13 11:54:10

I wish I could, she didn't get a place as its over subscribed and we moved out of the catchment area sad The school dd got offered was horrible!

I think I'll leave pushing the uniform boundaries until shes been there a while, I don't want to make her different from everyone on her 1st day.

Loveleopardprint Mon 05-Aug-13 12:07:19

It might be worth practising changing into her PE kit and back again. Some children find this very difficult and get stressed. Also I used to put a spare pair of pants in a little bag in her Pe bag when my dd was younger. Now we have to put sanitary towels in! hmm

Quenelle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:20:46

Is there a technique to taking one's own tshirt off that I can teach DS? He just can't get the hang of it.

He learned to put his coat on using the hood on the head technique that I read about on here. I'm hoping Mumsnetters have another clever solution for us.

MiaowTheCat Mon 05-Aug-13 12:50:25

I'd call burgundy and maroon the same colour (granted I've been mocked by a class of kids on numerous occasions for wandering in in odd socks though so take my advice loosely) - my hideous old school uniform was that colour and I'm sure got referred to pretty much interchangeably as both options over the years. I don't think generally they do uniform in such subtleties as "slightly more red" really.

Pencil cases for reception?! Are the staff masochists?! The hours that are going to be lost with "she's got my Peppa Pig pencil"

Voodika Mon 05-Aug-13 12:54:39

When my daughter started school I put a spare pair of pants (white ones) in her PE bag. Luckily she didn't need them because when I took them out at the end of term they were a pair of mine! grin

I think the most helpful things you can do are to name absolutely everything, don't let your daughter know if you are anxious and try and meet up with a couple of children who will be in her class beforehand.

A big part of the reception year is to teach children the basics of being in school. They will play a lot and have more adults so she should have a lovely time. Relax and good luck!

alwaysontop Mon 05-Aug-13 14:35:52

As a teacher I'd say you're doing everything right to help your daughter be as independent as possible but don't worry! In Reception teachers will always help children do up their coats, get changed, find their lost shoes/ socks etc. Just label all clothes, even shoes inside with biro etc etc
All I'd say is try not to communicate your anxiety to your daughter, and be reeeeally nice to the teacher! Don't tell them on the second day the reading book is too easy. It takes a while to get the hang of each child and the teacher will be doing everything they can to make sure every child is happy and settled. have fun!

BrokenSunglasses Mon 05-Aug-13 15:03:34

I work in reception, and one of the things I find helps children when they first start is if they have some idea of how to look after their own things. It helps when they have had a little practice at putting books in a book bag themselves, or have had to find their own hat out of their school bag without help.

Looking back to when mine started, they were probably useless at being responsible for their own belongings, but I was always there to help them or do it for them, and it had never occurred to me that doing those simple things would be good to teach them!

Also teach them how to turn their clothes the right way round if they are inside out.

Really don't worry too much though. Reception teachers and TAs know the children are only little and will need help with things, especially when they first start.

Euphemia Mon 05-Aug-13 16:27:35

Melmo shock

At my school we tell the P1 parents not to send in a pencil case! We provide all they need, and I'm not letting P1s loose on pencil sharpeners or rubbers for a good long while! smile

Euphemia Mon 05-Aug-13 16:28:44

Quenelle arms out of sleeves first, then over the head?

elk4baby Mon 05-Aug-13 17:01:41

Re: kids shoes - I'd add a vote for Ecco. They last for ages and in my experience are absolutely bullet-proof (they don't leak, the soles flex without ever cracking, and the leather's good quality). If you search around, you can often find 'last year's models' with good discounts.

pookamoo Mon 05-Aug-13 17:47:31

Have a look at www.shoesforkids.co.uk if you really want to buy Clarks or Startrite. They have them on there with great discounts.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Mon 05-Aug-13 19:41:24

Reception help list:

The summer before my August born boy went to school we started practising on preparation. I have (over the years) gathered other parents ideas from here and added to my list so if you see your suggestion, please don’t be offended – I just thought it was a great tip!!

Velcro shoes – unless they can do laces up with no help and very quickly

Make sure you contact your school to find out how to obtain the uniform. Sometimes it has to be ordered via the school and when they close at the end of July its means you won’t have a uniform for September!!

Find out which days P.E is on and on those days don’t button up the polo shirt – with a jumper on over the top it won’t be noticed anyway!

If they have to wear proper shirts with lots of buttons that are really too difficult to do up quickly - unpick the buttons, sew them on the "hole" side where they would end up if they were properly done up. Then get velcro and sew that onto the shirt - so when its put together it looks just like a proper done up shirt.

Or just do that to some of the buttons, so they get to practice them still (or just wear the Velcro shirt on PE days!!)

Personal care – ensure can wash hands, sort clothing out. My son couldn’t wipe his own bottom and so I ensured he got into a “routine” of doing one before bed so I knew he wouldn’t run into difficulties at school.

Put half a smiley face in each shoe so that when they are placed together the correct way round they form one big happy face – helps to get the shoes on the correct feet.

Practice with a lunchbox and different wrappings. I realised that I just hand my son a plate of food (as does nursery) and so he never had to undo anything!. He found a zipped lunch box easier than a velcro one. He found cling film to fidderly and so I get cheap food bags and put his sandwiches in them and wrap them over. He then puts all his left over’s in the bag so the lunch box comes back in a decent state!

Don’t get a drinks bottle with a rubber sports top - they chew it off!! (although that may just be my boys!) Either use sports cap bottled water bottles and then replace them every week or buy a decent metal one with a hard plastic sports cap - they go through the dishwasher as does a hard bodied lunch box.

Put a slit in the top of packets so they tear open easily or open them and fold them over and seal with a sticker (children can ALWAYS get a sticker off things!).

Fromage frais makes less mess than runny yogurt. Don’t forget to pack a spoon.

Sport top on bottles easier than screw tops or cartons (it all comes home in the lunch box so think of less spillage)

Label everything unless you don’t want it back. I got some really good stickers printed with just our surname on so all the family could use them for different things. They are dishwasher proof too. Some schools may have already signed up to the sticker company as it is a way of raising funds.
Marks and Spencers do socks that have the size in them and space to write a name – great if you have more than one child (but with different sized feet) in the same coloured socks (or is it just me who finds figuring out which socks belong to which family member a challenge!!).

Small icepack for the summer.

Some foods are not allowed in lunches so check with the school.

Before my (very young and clumsy)son had school dinners I brought a tray plate (from Boots) that the food gets put directly on, as that is what they use in school so he could practice carrying it to the table without dropping it. (was terrified he would drop it at school and everyone would laugh).

If they are a very small or slow eater don’t give them too much otherwise they will spend their whole lunch break eating and not outside playing. Some schools insist they eat everything. Just take a snack for on the way home if they are hungry.

Elasticated skirts and trousers to make it easier to get on/off.

If there is a 'school' coat, and it's not compulsory DON'T BUY ONE. If 30 children all have an identical coat it's a nightmare to sort them out.

Show your child how to hang their coat on a peg, using the loop. Otherwise the coat will live on a muddy cloakroom floor.

Tie something distinctive on your child's bookbag and PE bag, so they can recognise their own among many identical ones - a keyring or something is ideal

Practise putting clothes back on when they are inside out and back-to-front (ie as they'll be after they have taken them off for PE). My DS could dress himself so it never occurred to me that his clothes were always presented in a nice "sanitised" manner

Some children found the sheer noise and busy environment very stressful when they first start school and I wasn't prepared for that with my son who found lunchtimes in the hall with a hundred or so other children all chattering, clanking cutlery, scraping chairs and clinking plates really intimidating and scary.

Not much you can do (unless you have a massive home and a hundred children to invite round) but by going to busy places with him beforehand and telling him that school might get noisy sometimes but it's nothing to be worried about he will at least be able to remember your words when faced with increased hustle and bustle.

My son was sometimes a bit nervous about going in and “being alone” all day without me, so I filled his pocket with “kisses” and told him to reach in for one if he felt a bit sad. He still asks for them if going somewhere new (eg Beavers for the first time)

Teach your child to stuff their hat/scarf/gloves into the sleeve of their coat when they hang their coat up - stops them from getting lost and reminds dc to put them back on when they go out to play as they automatically find them when they put their coat back on!

A top tip I was given was that school shirts come in packs of three so you buy 2 packs, that gives you 6 shirts, one for every day of the week, plus 1 you put aside for the school Christmas show, prize giving or whatever.

If you are a working parent, as soon as you find out your allocated school you MUST sort childcare. Childminders and after school clubs get booked up very quickly. The school office may have a list of childcare establishments.
I sewed back the bottom bit of the material away from the zip on my DS's coat when he started Reception (to make it easier to do up).

If they wear proper shirts (as opposed to polo shirts), don't bother with long sleeved ones - the cuffs will get so grubby you'll only get one day's wear out of them. Short sleeves are better!

School uniform does go missing – be it misplaced or stolen. If you don’t need to get logo’d uniform then don’t as this is what tends to go easily. Also make your uniform more distinctive so when the children leave school you will be able to spot a piece of your Childs clothing on another child. Eg put a small key ring on the zipper of the school coat/jacket. (Will make it easier to pull up as well. )
Write in permanent ink inside the collar or sleeve – any where it can be easily seen and can not be cut out (like labels). Sew a small colour co-ordinated flower/star/circle (whatever is appropriate) on the collar – again is small but distinctive.
Phase out any after-lunch naps - they don't get this at school and it will be much harder for those who are still used to this.

Buy a nit comb and tie long hair back.
Find out where the lost box is - you will be a regular.

If any allergies check epi pens write in dates they need to be replaced and have a treat box at school for when children hand out cakes on their birthdays.
Checking the school bag for letters, party invites etc daily and dealing with stuff as soon as possible such as writing the dates down and getting stuff organised for it.
Keep unsuitable xmas and birthday presents for the various donations that the school ask for throughout the year (i.e summer and xmas fetes).

I also think it's good to ask the child themselves if there is anything they are worrying about - with DS he wanted to know the "routine" was so he could mentally tick it off during the day, so I found this out and let him know. He was also worried that no one would play with him so I suggested friend making strategies e.g. saying "My name is X, what's your name, do you want to play with me?"

Don't compare your child to others, don't be drawn into gossip about teachers/ta's/other children, and take most playground gossip with a large pinch of salt. Similarly, complaints from your child that they are bored/friendless/doing nothing at school should be taken with a degree of suspicion.

Our school has a lot of events parents can come and Reception children expect you to be there. If your school publishes a diary you could check and see what happens so far this year. I need at least one full week holiday to attend various events like end of term services, class assemblies, plays, parent meetings etc.

Don't label anyone's child as the naughty one, as yours may be the naughty one the following term.

For girls - have hair in a style that can be tied back for nit avoidance. Spray with de-tangler with tea tree oil in, tightly plait and spray her hair with hairspray. It was a tip I read in a magazine.

Make sure that they know when changing for PE NOT to remove pants and socks.
Not everyone has a cheque book nowadays but you may need one. Our school does not give out receipts for things so it is better to pay by chq as this can be traced as prove of payment.

Similarly alot of schools are making use of email and online payments for things so ensure you sign up for those.

Remember that although this is your first time to experience Reception – it will not be your teachers. Listen to what they have to say as they would of dealt with MANY children over the years – all with different abilities, personalities and flawes. If they are concerned about anything – then don’t get defensive – work with the school to overcome the problem.

Xihha Mon 05-Aug-13 19:57:31

Thank you SoWorried, thats a brilliant list.

DD has thick, curly waist length hair, so have already got her used to letting me check it and tie it up but I hadn't thought of hair spray as a prevention measure.

girliefriend Mon 05-Aug-13 19:59:30

I wouldn't be happy about 'having' to buy a certain brand of shoes!!

What will they do if your dd turns up in a different brand? Send her home? And who will be checking? Will they have shoe police?!!

I have found clarks girls school shoes to be rubbish and they have always fallen to bits after a term, so last term I got dd some cheaper school shoes from Asda and they have fared so much better!!

ThisIsMummyPig Mon 05-Aug-13 21:33:59

1) I recommend Clinkards, as they sell both clarks and startright, so you get a better choice. Also our local John Lewis asks Brownie and Rainbow packs to go down so they can practise shoe fitting in the run up to the school holidays.

2) our school doesn't do pencil cases. However, I still have pencils with my name on a little scrap of paper, and fully sellotaped over. We also did the cutting notches thing in as well.

3) Taps were always a struggle for DD1. Apart from that arse wiping comes top. Also DD1 learnt to do her coat with a zip, and then I bought her new one which she never learnt to do all year.

4) vests - I did a thread on this last year, because my mother was horrified I had sent DD1 in without a vest on. The consensus was that thin kids wear vests all year, most kids only wear them in winter, but I was definitely a pervert for asking.

5) if only I could remember what I'd forgotten...

Sahmof3 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:54:36

Startrite shoes are much better quality and will easily last the year and look good for the duration. I won't buy Clarks anymore, they just aren't made to the high standard they used to be and I've had to return a number of pairs that had fallen apart after a couple of months. Never had any problems with Startrite.

Xihha Mon 05-Aug-13 21:56:03

4) vests - I did a thread on this last year, because my mother was horrified I had sent DD1 in without a vest on. The consensus was that thin kids wear vests all year, most kids only wear them in winter, but I was definitely a pervert for asking.

grin so glad i didn't start a thread just about the vests now

mayaswell Mon 05-Aug-13 22:04:35

soworried wow, you've done your homework, excellent post!

The key thing is to get them to think for themselves about how they take care of themselves. They do get help, but they're working towards independence.

Label, label, label and simplify every process you can.

Pixiepie Mon 05-Aug-13 22:06:44

Well i would buck the trend and wear a different brand! Utter nonsense. In Scotland school uniform is not compulsory in ANY school!!! It is down to just a school policy and therefore more of a school request. There is NO way that not wearing a uniform [ here at least] could be justification for refusing to teach a child or to discipline them in anyway. Im not sure what the current situation is in England but if its similar then there is no way you should be enforced to buy a specific brand private school or not!

Pixiepie Mon 05-Aug-13 22:11:15

I have bought my dd asda shoes and they are absolutely brilliant. They are leather and cost me £10. She has wide feet and they fit her great as she has room at the toes. My ds is starting Primary 1 and i also got his shoes from asda. A lovely leather trainer shoe. I am so pleased with both. I dont buy clarks. They never have my childrens sizes. I took my two year old to get a pair of first shoes when she was a year and they told me they had nothing in her size!!!! I ended up buying her mothercare shoes. I personally think clarks are all hype!

jennifersofia Mon 05-Aug-13 22:45:19

Please label everything. Everything. I know it is a chore, but it really helps adults trying to sort out 25 children's things, and it helps you save money as things don't get lost so easily, and it helps your child not worry when they loose things and can't find them again.
Please send them in with a warm enough coat, or hat if it is cold, and a sunhat if it is hot. It is a shame if a child doesn't want to play because they are too cold because they are still wearing a summer dress in November.
Please try and be brave yourself, and give your child a big hug, reassure them that you will be there at the end of the day, and then go. Hanging around does not help them settle in.

Xihha Mon 05-Aug-13 22:45:44

Pixiepie, I'm not sure its the same in England, i know kids who have been sent home for breaking uniform policies (that is after ignoring warnings though) and I managed to get internal suspension for 2 weeks in year 10 for consistently breaking the uniform rules, although it probably wouldn't of been 2 weeks if i hadn't been being a pain grin

Her school paperwork says that it is considered a breach of school rules to attend in any item other than regulation uniform, and will result in loss of house points (which i guess would be a big deal if you are 4)

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